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Thread: Whose Torment is this, Anyway? by Rebcake starting 2nd November 2018

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    Default Whose Torment is this, Anyway? by Rebcake starting 2nd November 2018

    I promised you a short story for our next read and decided on

    Whose Torment is this, Anyway? by our fabulous Rebcake

    Summary: Six months after the battle of the Hellmouth, Buffy brings her team to Wolfram & Hart on a legal matter and finds that she’s been kept out of the loop in some important ways.

    Word count: 5,180

    The discussion will start on Friday 2nd of November 2018. Stay tuned!

    https://dark-solace.org/elysian/viewstory.php?sid=3513

    Dear Rebcake, I have recently added a thread with a few words to the writers of the fics that we are discussing. If you are interested in reading it, you can find it here:

    http://www.buffyforums.net/forums/sh...re-you-proceed!

    flow
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    Hey Rebcake! Just to let you know I'm stealing the chapter title "Destiny’s a bitch and so am I" and having it printed on T-shirts.

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    It's November 2 somewhere, right?

    Chapter one: best title ever! Great start. Characters true to canon and good use of language making the writing sound like the show, particularly for Xander. Loved Buffy's reaction to the news. I always give points for originality and this gets some for being the first fanfic I've read where Buffy shows up for the destiny fight. All in all a very enjoyable read. Only complaint....I wish it was longer. Liked the humour, loved the romance, heart melted when Buffy referenced "every night I save you".


    I like who I am when Im with him. I like who we are together.

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    Well! Whadayaknow? I'm honored. I did read the very scary warning post earlier and decided to come over here to say, "As long as no one rags on me for it being too short, anything goes!" Only to find that the "too short" complaint squeaked in there ahead of me! Heh.

    I'm not a novelist. Scenes or episode-length are more my speed. If you'll be sad it's not a novel, consider yourself warned.

    I am very pleased that a couple of you like the first chapter title. I thought it was hi-larious, but didn't get any feedback on that detail when it was first posted. I am vindicated!

    I will be traveling this weekend, so may not be around to comment much. Carry on!
    Weird love is better than no love Buffy Summers

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    Are we commenting now? I read it weeks ago, I'm going to have to do a quick re-read to remind myself . . .

    I really enjoyed this story. I think Post NFA stories are my favourite. I liked that all the scoobies seemed on board with Buffy and Spike being together. Not sure why Buffy dashed the Cup out of Spike's hands, I think that could have been expanded on, though I enjoyed what we got.

    The voicing was very good, I thought the characters were captured really well. The only issue I had with the language was Buffy saying ''when exactly have I ever given you the impression that Im a, well, a whore? was a little ott and out of character. No matter how angry or upset Buffy has been, she's not usually so coarse.

    Like GoSpuffy has said, it was too short and seemed to end abruptly, there's definitely room to carry on their conversation and find out where they went from there.

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    It was too short. No...I'm joking TBH, it wouldn't matter how long it was - I have the memory of a goldfish and by the time I get to the end I've forgotten the beginning. It's almost tomorrow so I'm just leaving this here.

    I'm actually garbage at this - I'm better with full-blown analysis but I'll try.

    I like the shifting focalisation. It feels quite cinematic (medium close up - shot reverse shot). I've noticed that with your writing before. Is it intentional or just a by-product of your particular style?

    "He wrapped his coat more tightly around himself. The elements didn’t bother him, so it was something else entirely that he was warding off". I like this! It's such a telling mannerism - why don't writers use it more often? So significant in Touched and Just Rewards...speaks volumes.

    Question - genuine one and not critical: "So they took off for the desert to find the thing. My money is on Angel, but Spike got a head start.” Would Charlie put his money on Angel?

    "Brave New World" - now I'm worried I've missed more Tempest/Shakespeare references.


    Criticisms:

    There's no phosphorescence in it. I'm wounded.
    "We can work it out" gave me Beatles earworm and I started to look for other song-titles.
    "Are we there yet" is bugging me. Not simply because it's that infuriating question kids keep asking in the car (was incessant repetition the point?*) but because it has a resonance that's just out of my grasp. I like the title...at the same time as I don't.

    * I'm guessing this - "History I’d really not like to repeat. It’s not like I’ve never messed up with an ex, but I don’t want to keep going down those roads. Can we just be even?” - means yes?

    If I have to suffer so does everyone else: Wow! "Try to see it my way...While you see it your way" - the focalisation! Am I clever or are you?



    I liked it - but I really liked Wonders Never Cease. You're clever with words.

    I'm not a novelist. Scenes or episode-length are more my speed.
    Seriously: are you a scriptwriter? If feels as though you could be.
    Last edited by TriBel; 02-11-18 at 12:34 AM.

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    "Too short" is a compliment. Always leave them wanting more is the ideal. It's the most important narrative after "sex sells". I work in advertising so I know these things.


    I like who I am when Im with him. I like who we are together.

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    Love The Beatles, and am happy to have that earworm all day

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    I still haven't finished the final part of Turn and Face the Strain, I've not had enough free time, just odd pockets. Anyway, I decided to use one of those pockets yesterday to read this fic rather than another chunk of that one. But I was well behaved (this time) and waited for the official date before I posted.

    A few random thoughts from the start of the story. I loved the instant energy in this fic with the gang arriving right into the thick of the W&H internal panic. That was well matched with the lack of stalling in getting to Spike's presence being revealed through Gunn blathering about the Destiny quest, oblivious at first to the responses he was getting. I always enjoy seeing Buffy responding through action, it's her way! The idea of Spike's unexpected return turning Willow and Xander into their own thoughts of lost loves was a nice inclusion. Buffy liking the cool of the lighter that gets warmed by her touch was neat too. Like Pricey I was a little unsure why Buffy knocked the cup out of Spike's hand and would have liked to have understood it because it was his choice to make. Oh, and I loved this... "The torment was a bust,” supplied Buffy. “Fresh out of the perpetual. We’re all going to have to make do with the regular kind.” Ha.

    I really enjoyed Buffy and Spike's exchange in the car after the others had headed off. I found Buffy's disbelief at his disbelief a little surprising as he actually voiced it to her in the hellmouth. But I liked hearing her passionate response to the dismissal and she did then address the moment in the hellmouth too. I think working with there being elements of uncertainty on both sides affecting them then is very true. I'm not sure why Spike would feel he has had the carpet yanked from beneath him many times unless he was thinking back to his soulless years too and I think he viewed himself and their relationship differently once souled. But I liked the mutual frustrations and clawing their feelings out, revealing they both wanted to give it a go. The genuine connection and seeing each other for good/bad, all that is very 'them', was great. It actually reminded me a lot of the relationship in the canon comics, which ain't a bad thing at all for me. And I really like all this against the bits TriBel pulled on not repeating past mistakes and 'arriving' (or at least progressing on your journey).

    I was really amused by the epilogue alternate title and appreciated how quickly they moved past it, best approach for Harmony imo. I do think that Spike at the end S7 needed to find greater certainty in himself (still does in this) and the path he wanted to walk for him/Buffy to get into an even more healthy dynamic, and he gain some of this in the years they were apart. But I don't think that it's impossible for him to manage that around Buffy too, it just comes with alternate potential difficulties. But this as an alternate reunion didn't skip the uncertainty they both had to work through, they just lost some resentment and insecurity the larger time apart created I think. Because of that I can see them skipping forward quicker than they did in canon and getting to that same vibe in an earlier timeframe. The characters felt recognisable and all in all it was a nice alternate meet up again for them. I enjoyed it.

    I have to say I'm with GoSpuffy that 'too short' can be just a compliment because you wish it hadn't finished, which would certainly be the case if applied here. I've read a small number of fics now where Buffy and Spike meet up again within the AtS 5 era and have enjoyed them, I'd definitely read more based in that timeframe.
    Last edited by Stoney; 02-11-18 at 05:18 PM.

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    You are like Spike, who can`t wait til Friday ... er... Saturday!

    Hey Rebcake, do you really think my little warning post was scary? We went through a traumatizing event last week, when we discussed Gewnnie`s fics here on the very day, she pulled them from EF, deleted her account and dropped out of fandom. I`ve tried to contact her, but it was too late. That`s when I thought, we should take some safety measures ... of course it`s still possible, that Gwennie got a contract for publishing an original fic and the timing was just coincidental. Or something else happened. We will never know, I guess...

    My thoughts on Whose Torment is This, Anyway?:

    When I started reading fanfiction, one-shots or shorter stories were my favorites. I read many novel-length stories, that started out brilliantly and then lost their steam after about a third of the story. Since then I also have read novel-length fis that are really good up to the end. But I still have a very soft spot in my heart for shorter fanfiction and to me your story has just about the perfect lentgh.

    Everyone else has already praised the characerization, setting and voicing and I don`t want to be repetitive. Therefore I will just add three thoughts.

    First: I found Xander`s and Willow`s behaviour towards Spike absolutely appropiate. Xander acknowledged Spike`s sacrifice but had to deal with his own grief. Willow was more emotional. Spike was surprised by both of their reactions.

    Second: I got the idea that Buffy kicked the goblet out of Spike`s hand, because she either thought the liquid it was poisenous or it would bring "perpetual torment" to him. I found her reaction very in character for her. She is the one, who always goes in for the action and let`s the others do the research. Kick first, ask questions later.

    Third: It has often been discussed, if Buffy did really mean it, when she told Spike "I love you" in the Hellmouth. My view has always been, that she did mean it, because she is Buffy and she would never ever lie about something like that.

    Had she wanted to give him a crumb because he was dying or had she meant that she loved him in a brotherly way or as an ally or comrade, she would have said "I`ll never forget what you did" or "You`ll always be in my heart" or something like that. When she said "I love you" she meant (imho) that he is the man she loves, is in love with and would want to be with, if he wouldn`t die in about 30 seconds.

    I have read many discussions about this scene and find that people who say, that Buffy lied to Spike, damage her character. That is why I can completely understand that Buffy is absolutely furious here and asks Spike if he thinks she is a whore. Yes, it is harsh language, she is using here and it is very unusual for her. But circumstances are unusual too. How could Spike have completely misunderstood her? How could he think, she was the kind of girl, who would throw a dying man a crumb and would lie to him? He, of all the people in the world, should have known better.

    Yeah, I can understand that Buffy is extremely pissed off. I`d be too, if I were her.

    That`s it. I really loved this story.

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    I think Buffy loved him when she said it too. I don't think she was certain about how she felt romantically, whether she wanted to make a go of a relationship at that point, but I think she loved him and not in a purely platonic way. Her behaviour with him through the season clearly showed she loved him and felt very deeply for him, it wasn't that it came out of the blue. I don't think that she has ever shown herself to be someone who would say something like that without meaning it.

    Great thought about Buffy's reasons for knocking the cup away from Spike flow, I could totally see her doing it if she thought that the two of them were just in a ridiculous competition and weren't considering the risk of what it might do, if she hadn't found out any further details before racing off to find them. I'm not sure how much she is supposed to have feared the potential dangers though as it is Spike that suggests they need to return and find out why someone has been pulling their chain because it was only mountain dew. If she had thought there was a danger or that it was risky to have even considered drinking it she might have said something then. Having said that, I would like to think that her actions were about fearing what could happen rather than deciding that Spike was making the wrong choice for him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GoSpuffy View Post
    I always give points for originality and this gets some for being the first fanfic I've read where Buffy shows up for the destiny fight.
    Thanks for the points! This was an art-inspired fic. I claimed a banner by okdeanna — now posted to EF — which depicted a shocked Buffy looking on as Spike hoisted the glittery Cup. I doubt I would have thought of it without that push, but once I did it seemed like the perfect setting for an AtS S5 Spuffy reunion.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Priceless View Post
    I think Post NFA stories are my favourite. Not sure why Buffy dashed the Cup out of Spike's hands, I think that could have been expanded on, though I enjoyed what we got.
    This is not post-NFA, strictly speaking. I though that Buffy saying "Friends don't let friends drink the torment" was sufficient explanation for her to insert herself, but I will expand on my reasoning when I talk about Stoney's comment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Priceless View Post
    The only issue I had with the language was Buffy saying ''when exactly have I ever given you the impression that I’m a, well, a whore?” was a little ott and out of character. No matter how angry or upset Buffy has been, she's not usually so coarse.
    I do tend to write Buffy a little more, um, earthy than some people, but I will point out that she referred to Dru as a "big ho" way back in Season 2. The word is not unknown to her.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by TriBel View Post
    I like the shifting focalisation. It feels quite cinematic (medium close up - shot reverse shot). I've noticed that with your writing before. Is it intentional or just a by-product of your particular style?
    I do try to visualize the action in a non-monotonous way and be as clear as possible with descriptions. I'm basing my stories on a visual medium, but we all are.

    Quote Originally Posted by TriBel View Post
    Question - genuine one and not critical: "So they took off for the desert to find the thing. My money is on Angel, but Spike got a head start.” Would Charlie put his money on Angel?
    I definitely think Charles would be Team Angel at this point. He's seen his guy come through dozens of times, but he only knows ghost!Spike at this point. Later in the season, he might not feel the same way, but right now his experience is that Angel wins.

    Quote Originally Posted by TriBel View Post
    "Brave New World" - now I'm worried I've missed more Tempest/Shakespeare references.
    Not from me, but there are several from Joss and his crew.

    Quote Originally Posted by TriBel View Post
    * I'm guessing this - "History I’d really not like to repeat. It’s not like I’ve never messed up with an ex, but I don’t want to keep going down those roads. Can we just be even?” - means yes?
    Nope. Relationships never come out even. You just have to accept and forgive, and learn to not keep score. Spike knows this, but it was just too tempting to play that card.

    Quote Originally Posted by TriBel View Post
    If I have to suffer so does everyone else: Wow! "Try to see it my way...While you see it your way" - the focalisation! Am I clever or are you? Seriously: are you a scriptwriter? If feels as though you could be.
    I think empathy is key for a good storyteller. So it's practically a requirement to see it every way! IMHO. Every character has their viewpoint, and they aren't wrong, necessarily. You'll notice that there is no villain in this story, just circumstances to overcome. I think that's something I am drawn to. FWIW, I have written for comics, which is a sort of storyboard situation, very visual, but not for movies or TV.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoney View Post
    Like Pricey I was a little unsure why Buffy knocked the cup out of Spike's hand and would have liked to have understood it because it was his choice to make.
    It never occurred to me that Buffy would allow Spike to go through with drinking the Torment in this situation. From her perspective it's not a real apocalypse, and she's got no investment in the Shanshu (Sanshu?) prophecy the way Angel does. She probably processes the whole thing as some B.S. and her B.S. detector is pretty well developed. She not big on watching her friends hang themselves, as we see when she tries to stop Willow from doing something she'd regret in S6. What she sees is that the man she loves, miraculously back from the dead, is about to die again for no good reason. I just can't imagine she'd stand there and say, "Whatever you want, honey."

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoney View Post
    I'm not sure why Spike would feel he has had the carpet yanked from beneath him many times unless he was thinking back to his soulless years too and I think he viewed himself and their relationship differently once souled.
    I am a huge Buffy fan, but she was not very clear about her intentions toward Spike throughout Season 7. She goes from not-very-nice-to-the-crazy-man to hauling him out of the school basement, from telling him he's a loser and dating other guys to asking him to stay (sort of), from spending the night with him and saying it meant a lot, to kissing Angel about 30 minutes later. He clearly states that she "whacks him around like a rubber ball" and that it bothers him. I'd be surprised if he just accepted her declaration, without wondering if she'd change her mind the next day.

    To all of you who commented:

    Thanks so much for the enthusiasm and attention to the little details! It is wonderful when readers notice the little things I put in to entertain us both. This story was especially difficult for me to write because romance is not my natural milieu. I was deathly afraid it would end up too treacly, and it's very nice to hear that it feels "true" to readers.
    Last edited by Rebcake; 05-11-18 at 05:04 AM.
    Weird love is better than no love Buffy Summers

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebcake View Post
    It never occurred to me that Buffy would allow Spike to go through with drinking the Torment in this situation. From her perspective it's not a real apocalypse, and she's got no investment in the Shanshu (Sanshu?) prophecy the way Angel does. She probably processes the whole thing as some B.S. and her B.S. detector is pretty well developed. She not big on watching her friends hang themselves, as we see when she tries to stop Willow from doing something she'd regret in S6. What she sees is that the man she loves, miraculously back from the dead, is about to die again for no good reason. I just can't imagine she'd stand there and say, "Whatever you want, honey."
    Which fits really my feeling of her as being action girl and racing off without finding out all the details (which I did like the characterisation of). Spike wasn't ever supposed to die from drinking the cup. As far as I remember it, the quest was theoretically about ascertaining who was the person the prophecy was about just to stop the universe flailing because there were two souled vamps. So it was predestined that 'the one' who the shanshu was about drink from the cup. Not that anything would happen to them there and then. So Buffy believed something awful was going to happen at that moment, and it was true that it was all a ruse so it could have been a set up to kill him too. Yeah I can run with that.

    I am a huge Buffy fan, but she was not very clear about her intentions toward Spike throughout Season 7. She goes from not-very-nice-to-the-crazy-man to hauling him out of the school basement, from telling him he's a loser and dating other guys to asking him to stay (sort of), from spending the night with him and saying it meant a lot, to kissing Angel about 30 minutes later. He clearly states that she "whacks him around like a rubber ball" and that it bothers him. I'd be surprised if he just accepted her declaration, without wondering if she'd change her mind the next day.
    Definitely Spike felt uncertain what Buffy wanted, and she was uncertain. But then so is he about his own path and they are both wary around each other as they reestablish a new dynamic. I don't disagree with you on a great deal of this, but I don't think it equates to feeling like the carpet has been yanked from him many times because I think that misses his own sense of uncertainty and that he doesn't feel worthy of being with her for a good time, certainly through S7, which results in a sense of gratitude that she is even letting him back in her life and clearly does feel something strong for him. Even if she is uncertain. It perhaps comes down to what I interpret in a situation where someone is feeling like they've been thrown many times by someone else. I don't think Spike felt certain enough or worthy enough to feel that many times. But I do think they were confused and confusing each other plenty. Really I think we see things in a roughly similar way between them.

    Thanks for a great story Rebcake and for responding to our thoughts. It definitely wasn't treacly and I will certainly look out for more of your fics.

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    And I must add rebcake that it was exceptionally kind and brave of you to weigh in on our conversation. We're a bunch of fanfic fans that love to discuss the characters and the differences and nuances that we all pick up on. We never want to criticize a story in a way that makes anyone feel we don't enjoy their gift but at the same time we do like talking about where we agree and where we see things differently. I really enjoy these discussions as they open my mind to new thoughts and ideas. To have access to the writer and their thought processes was very much a treat.
    Thank you.


    I like who I am when Im with him. I like who we are together.

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    Rebake, that was such a lovely read! I actually admire that you can write short fics (my fics are always planned to be short but then they spin out of my control and get longer :cry: )

    I LOVE the characterization! The characters sound like themselves on the show and I love that you took the approach of Buffy showing that she is in love with Spike rather than being closed off. I'd like to think that after Chosen, Buffy become more open with her emotions.

    I've always wanted to see the LA gang meeting the Scoobies, and I adored Fred's Fury reference and how Xander loved it.

    My favorite moment was:

    “Am I getting this right? You’ve been back in your body for less than 24 hours, and you already managed to get it on with Harmony?”

    He opened his mouth, then snapped it shut again. He thought of apologizing, explaining, and possibly groveling, but in the end, he went another way.

    “It wasn’t ‘getting it on’, it was a…hello.”

    Her expression said, “Bastard!”


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    Hey Rebcake,

    I am late to respond to you post. Like the others before, I also want to say thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. It always gives so much more insight into a story and the writing process, if we have the chance to talk to the writer herself. We have another one of your stories on our to read-list (though we haven`t set a date for reading it yet).

    Thank you so much again!

    flow
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    Library Researcher DeepBlueJoy's Avatar
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    Fun fluff. Enjoyable but kind of predictable. Sometimes we need uncomplcated. The characterizations were spot on, and intelligent. I have no priblem with Buffy's "earthiness". Character language is not limited by PG TV constraints.
    Last edited by DeepBlueJoy; 09-11-18 at 06:44 PM.

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    Library Researcher Rebcake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Priceless View Post
    The voicing was very good, I thought the characters were captured really well. The only issue I had with the language was Buffy saying ''when exactly have I ever given you the impression that I’m a, well, a whore?” was a little ott and out of character. No matter how angry or upset Buffy has been, she's not usually so coarse..
    I've been doing a rewatch, and had to pop in to say that Buffy calls Cordelia a "vapid whore" in Homecoming. That's twice she's used the word in canon, so far!

    I didn't think I was being terribly original...
    Weird love is better than no love Buffy Summers

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    Slayer Priceless's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebcake View Post
    I've been doing a rewatch, and had to pop in to say that Buffy calls Cordelia a "vapid whore" in Homecoming. That's twice she's used the word in canon, so far!

    I didn't think I was being terribly original...
    You are quite right. It's just a word i don't like, especially when women use it about themselves or other women. It's just one of my bugbears

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    Library Researcher Rebcake's Avatar
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    I'm with you. It's too often thrown about in a way that robs it of its actual meaning. When Buffy uses it about Dru or Cordy, it's not accurate, and it's meant to be demeaning. In this story, it IS accurate, in that she's upset that he would think of her affection as transactional. So her usage in this story doesn't match up with her (incorrect) usage in canon. And how many conversations have you had lately about the importance of precision when using the word? I have with various teenagers of my acquaintance — watch them squirm — and it's not even on the SATs!
    Weird love is better than no love Buffy Summers

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